I get the historical background for the silly helmet and the ridiculously long bayonet (though the short clip for the Bren seems dumb), but what about the thick long socks? Why do you equip soldies with (funny shorts and) thick socks if they waging war in the desert? What’s the rationale behind this?
The same reason it is better to wear long sleves then short in the desert. The sun can be hell. add that plus windburn from the blowing sand and you have have problems. You need your men to stay in the best condition all the time even if that makes them look like dorks
High socks and shorts ventilate the thigh and groin and probably help keep sand out of the socks. Long pants with crew socks would let air get to the lower leg, but the body doesn’t dissipate much heat from the shins.
Too, deserts are often surprisingly cold at night. Might have looked goofy but was practical.
Bear in mind that soldiers spend a lot of time walking from A to B carrying a lot of very heavy warry stuff. During WW2 you didn’t get a nice comfy pair of hiking boots with sorbothane sole, you got two small piles of scrap cowhide pounded into vaguely footlike shapes in a hurry. You needed something soft and yielding between you and these dreadful things.
So not having thick wooly socks meant having soldiers with bleeding feet and their knees and ankles in a right old state. And if you are going to issue millions of wooly socks, why bother making both wooly socks, sturdy, uncomfortable, long, mark IV as well as wooly socks, sturdy, uncomfortable, short, mark IV?
Especially since some idiot quartermaster would ship the long ones to Burma and the short ones to Iceland given half a chance.
When it came to tropical and desert clothing and personal equipment, the British were way better off than the Germans. The Afrika Corps preferred british uniforms as the material was much better for the desert. Some officers even had british uniforms recut and retailored into german uniforms (for themselves). So I guess the Brits knew at least something about proper desert clothes.
He talks about the desirability of British maps and compasses as well as clothing.
i don’t know about British army shoes, but I wore GI shoes all the time and found them quite comfortable.